Canvey's Haunted House
The results of a visit to it
Another article from the 1904 Canvey News, Dutch Island Chronicle newspaper.
It, of course, could not be that Canvey the curious and the mysterious should he without its haunted house. Tradition has it that within this house not only were strange noises heard but the furniture had a habit of moving about without any apparent cause; at the same time horrible sulphorous fumes arose assailing the sense of smell. A short time since two young ladies, of anti-superstitious turn of mind, determined to know something more of this house than local gossip could offer them, so, obtaining permission, they first essayed an exploration of its precincts. Setting forth, accompanied by a boy who acted as guide, these intrepid explorers began an investigation of the approaches to the house of uncanny fame. Much had already been told them of the awful noises, the screams and then the groans as of the victims of some cruel deed, possibly the ghostly re-enactment of some foul murder. Of all this, and of the efforts that had been made in days gone by to lay these troubled spirits, they had heard enough, and in their boldness turned it all aside with contemptuous disdain.
“Believe in ghosts in this 20th century, with its progress in science and discoveries of every kind?—not they,”—away with the thought.
Having arrived at the gate, however, they brace their nerves and screw up their courage, for there is something strange in the stillness that pervades their surroundings. A hand is placed upon the latch of the garden gate and there seems something ominous in the sound of its click. The boy who thus far has acted as guide has no wish to proceed any further and elects to remain outside. The ladies advance along the path and approaching the front door look up and down the ancient porch, scan the weather-beaten door and taking furtive glances at each other, think—though neither dares to confess that there is after all something uncanny in that strange stillness, something that they dare not think upon lest it brought about that creepiness of the flesh which would be difficult to explain away.
They purposed trying the door or knocking, and just as a hand is stretched forth with that intent they are startled by a sound from within and a voice saying “Come in, my dears; I’ve been waiting for you “—at the same moment the door is flung open, and an ancient dame with wrinkled face appears (with head covered with old-fashioned cap and strings tied under chin) bids them step inside. They enter the darkened doorway and as they are shown over the old place they observe with much misgiving that unaccountable shadows seem to flit across the rooms as they move from place to place, and weird imaginings associate themselves as they listen to the old dame’s stories of the furniture. With these thoughts of the past, the peculiar lonesomeness of the present, the strange mystery of it all, something unaccountable seems to take possession of them. Now finding themselves by the door at the rear of the premises they rather hurriedly bid the old lady good-bye. and with as much grace as they are able to show under these fearsome conditions they with hastening steps beat a retreat, and venturing without their guide, and in utter forgetfulness of aught else but the scene they had just left, and knowing nothing of dangers that now lay before them, they hurried with unheeding footsteps over the uneven ground, when lo! a false step, a slip, a scream, and they have fallen into the dyke. Fortunately, the water is not dangerously deep, and they are soon climbing out on the opposite bank, rueing this unhappy sequel to their visit as they very soberly continued their journey homeward.
Needless to say, the details of that visit are deeply impressed upon the minds of these daring visitors.